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Our Top 2 Picks for Best Kids Fishing Poles
Fishing is a bonding experience that can strengthen relationships and teach life lessons. However, it’s a skill that needs patience and control, which children seldom have. So if your child shows even a remote interest in fishing, you should definitely encourage them.
Getting them their own fishing gear can be an excellent way to get them more invested in the activity and simultaneously arouse love for nature.
Before buying a fishing rod to teach your kid to fish, you need to make sure it’s well-suited to their age, skillset, and experience. To make the process easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids fishing poles, and answered common FAQs below.
- Our Top 2 Picks for Best Kids Fishing Poles
- The Best Kids Fishing Poles by Category
- Best all-round fishing pole for kids: PLUSINNO Kids Fishing Pole
- Best kids fishing pole for beginners: Shakespeare Youth Fishing Kits
- Best kids fishing pole that doesn’t tangle: Zebco 404 Spincast Freshwater Combo
- Best kids fishing pole for saltwater fishing: Shakespeare Youth Ugly Stik GX2
- Best kids fishing pole for freshwater fishing: Zebco 33 Platinum 602M SC Combo
- Best kids fishing pole for small children: Kid Casters No Tangle Fishing Rod
- Best kids fishing pole for bigger kids: Zebco Dock Demon Spincast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
- Best kids fishing pole for tweens: Abu Garcia Ike Dude Spinning Rod and Reel Combo
- Best fishing pole for teenagers: Cadence CC4 Spinning Combo
- A Guide to Buying the Best Kids Fishing Pole
- Is There a Right Age to Take Your Child Fishing?
- What’s the Difference Between a Fishing Rod and a Fishing Pole?
- How Do You Choose the Best Kids Fishing Pole?
- Buying a Rod and Reel Combo vs. Buying Each Separately: What’s the Difference?
- What Fishing Gear do Kids Need?
- Final thoughts
The Best Kids Fishing Poles by Category
If your kids want to get into fishing, start them on a rod that is (a) lightweight to minimize any discomfort, and (b) has an easy, kid-friendly setup — something like the PLUSINNO.
You get a telescoping (extendable) spincast rod and reel combo, along with a huge variety of tackle (aka equipment for fishing): fishing line, tackle box with hard and soft lures, bobbers, weights, beads, swivels, hooks and more!
This combo is mostly made with Fiber-Reinforced-Plastic (FRP) and other plastic components. It has soft EVA foam handles that feel good to hold. (EVA is a light and strong material that is resistant to cracks and abrasions.) The reel has a strong metal bail wire and is better suited for right-handed fishers, so keep this in mind if your child is a lefty.
The rod is available in two sizes: 3.9 and 4.9 feet. It’s also easy to fit inside a lightweight compact carrying case for spontaneous trips to and from the docks. While the smaller size is suitable for kids between 3 to 5 years of age, the bigger one is better for kids above 6 years.
The small bell on the rod alerts kids whenever there’s a fish on the line, which is another plus.
- Telescopic rod is available in two sizes: 3.9 feet and 4.9 feet
- Package includes a protective convenient carrying case
- Suitable for freshwater and lake fishing
- Comes in 3 colors: Black, blue and pink
- Length: 3.9ft / 4.9ft
- Recommended ages: 3-5 years (3.9ft); 6 years and up (4.9ft)
- Items included: Telescopic rod, spinning reel, crankbaits, tackle box, float bobbers, sinkers, jig head, and fishing beads
These Disney-themed fishing kits from Shakespeare will attract toddlers and perk their interest in the sport, for obvious reasons.
The colorful fishing rods feature a round knob, a thumb button extension, and a finger guard. We would have liked it to come with a tackle box, preferably one with swivels and hooks to provide the kids a more wholesome experience. But it isn’t a deal-breaker for us since it’s very easy to use, which is great for young fishers.
The rod itself is easy to cast with a thumb-button extension, while the double anodized aluminum reel is already pre-spooled to eliminate any assembly on your part.
They’re available in 11 different rod designs ranging from Frozen to Mickey Mouse to Toy Story.
- Beginner-friendly open-space design
- Disney-themed, all-in-one rod and reel with line
- Features a comfortable round knob and thumb button extension
- On/off instant anti-reverse bearing
- Pre-spooled reel for added convenience
- Comes with a practice casting plug
- Length: 2.6ft
- Recommended ages: Above 3 years
- Items included: All-in-one rod and reel with line
At approximately 5.6 feet, the Zebco 404 is for experienced young fishers, or children above the age of 10. It has a fiberglass blank — a “blank” being the long flexible pole component of the rod — and comfortable EVA handles that won’t rub against the delicate skin of children even when dirty or wet.
Its unique Twist-Lock reel seating feature allows you to lock the line into a certain distance, so you won’t have to worry about casting the line repeatedly. This feature also solves the frustrating problem of having to untangle lines.
This is suitable for adults too because of its length. So in addition to being a great purchase of tweens and teenagers, the Zebco 404 Spincast Freshwater Combo can be a handy tool for you too!
While we were impressed with the durability of this kids’ fishing rod, we do have one complaint: it doesn’t include any other fishing gear. However, the fishing rod is priced well, so purchasing a tackle box separately doesn’t sting badly.
- Built with a Zebco two-piece rod and spincast reel; has a tackle wallet too
- All-metal gears and tough ABS plastic housing for higher durability
- Medium action Z-glass (a resilient thermoplastic) construction rod with EVA handle
- Easy-to-use star knob, along with stainless steel pickup pin, built-in keeper, and an adjustable drag
- Length: 5.6ft
- Recommended ages: 10+
- Items included: Fiberglass rod and lightweight spinning reel
Considering Shakespeare is one of the most trusted names when it comes to the best fishing rods, it isn’t surprising that the company has nothing but the best for kids as well. Though it’s marketed for teens, many reviewers say their young children have no problems using it.
This fishing combo has a clear-tip design that not only increases overall sensitivity when fishing but also helps your child see the exact moment a strike happens. It makes the process a lot more exciting too! The rod is made with graphite and fiberglass to keep it lightweight and durable, while the EVA grip is great for smaller, sensitive hands.
The Ugly Stik GX2 is an excellent choice for saltwater fishing too.
Saltwater rods and reels are designed with corrosion-resistant materials or sprayed with a special coating to combat sea salt corrosion. These still won’t prevent them from corroding eventually, but they’ll last longer than freshwater rods. Remember to rinse it with freshwater and wipe it dry before putting it away everytime, and it should hold up fine for a long while.
Although most saltwater rods are thicker and heavier, this one from Shakespeare is durable enough to provide extra strength when luring large fishes.
The reel has a unique unlockable swivel that lets children drop the bait without casting, which is a convenient feature for both you and your child. The machined aluminum spool and ball bearings make the operation smoother.
- Graphite and fiberglass construction for increased durability
- Unlockable swivel reel feature
- Lightweight EVA handle for smaller, sensitive hands
- Features a clear-tip design
- Machined aluminum spool and ball bearings for smoother operation
- Length: 5.6ft
- Recommended ages: 8+
- Items included: Fishing rod and spinning reel
The Zebco 33 Platinum 602M SC Combo has many things going for it. It comes pre-packed with more than 100 yards of line, which is sufficient for the spincast to move through the reel effortlessly. You can also lock the line in place on the reel.
Freshwater rods are not as powerful as saltwater rods. What this means is that less force or weight is required to bend the rod, which makes them more flexible — allowing them to absorb tension from a fish that’s fighting to get away, and prevent your line from breaking. The Zebco 33 also has greater flexibility due to its proven Zebco graphite construction, which makes it an excellent option for catching freshwater species.
In addition, you can adjust the handle for left-handed as well as right-handed anglers. The rod is lightweight and portable for on-the-fly fishing trips, and the simple design of the platinum spincast reel makes it more kid-friendly.
- Has a 4.1:1 gear ratio
- Reversible handles for both right- and left-handed anglers
- Pre-spooled combo with nearly 100 yards of 10lb test Cajun Line
- Medium-action design, with graphite rod and stainless steel rod seats
- All-metal body and handle with five ball bearings
- Length: 6.2ft
- Recommended ages: 10+
- Items included: Graphite rod and stainless steel reel seat hoods
With its 3.1:1 gear ratio reel and 6lb line, toddlers can practice casting or catch real fish. The rods come with a safe plastic hook that can be tied to any line, or be clipped onto training baits. This can be helpful to teach your child how to tie knots that will prevent the fish from breaking off.
It also comes with a soft sponge fish bait that can transform into a larger, more vivid fish in the water. A patented snap swivel prevents the line from twisting up. If you want, you can also replace the sponge with the plastic hook so they can catch real fish.
- 3.3:1 gear ratio reel, along with 6lb line
- Patented snap swivel to prevent line twisting
- Safe plastic hook that attaches to any line
- Comes with a soft sponge fish lure
- Length: 2.8ft
- Recommended ages: 3-4 years
- Items included: Fishing rod, safety hook, casting plug, and training bait
Zebco has been producing good fishing rods that can withstand the wear and tear that children commonly put tools through.
The construction is fantastic with a comfortable EVA handle, fiberglass blank, and three line guides. Catching smaller fishes, such as sunfish, bluegill, and crappie can be very easy for kids — you only have to be willing to overlook the short 2.5-feet length.
In terms of functionality, the Dock Demon is a winner. You get a pre-spooled reel with a 6lb line, changeable retrieve, and ball-bearing drive.
However, you’ll have to replace the poor quality line with another brand to prevent any mid-trip tangles. This can be quite disappointing for customers, especially those who wanted to buy a rod and reel combo together.
- Powertrain drag with all-metal gears
- QuickSet Anti-Reverse
- Changeable right or left-hand retrieve
- Durable fiberglass rod with EVA handle
- Twist-Lock reel seat
- Length: 2.5ft
- Recommended ages: 5-7 years
- Items included: Fiberglass rod and spincast reel
Tweens often get stuck in this weird phase where they know the basic skills of fishing but are still physically small for handling a standard adult rod.
It’s in these cases where you can consider the Abu Garcia Ike Dude Spinning Rod and Reel Combo.
It has a sturdy, all-graphite body that is complemented with EVA foam handles. So not only is the rod lightweight, it’s very comfortable to hold. This fishing pole is designed by Mike “Ike“ Iaconelli, who is a very successful angler on the Bassmaster Elite tour circuit.
The rod comes preloaded with a 6lb line and a two ball-bearing drive system, which is designed for smooth operation. It also makes it easier for you to teach your kid a more controlled casting technique to catch fishes easily.
Since the reel has a maximum 110-yard capacity, kids can aim for larger species, irrespective of the fish types.
- All-graphite reel body and rotor
- Two ball-bearing drive system
- High-density EVA foam handles
- Designed by Bassmaster Elite pro angler Mike “Ike” Iaconelli
- Length: 6ft
- Recommended ages: 8-12 years
- Items included: Fishing rod, spinning reel, and hook keeper
Once children enter the threshold of 15, they consciously develop a more independent approach to activities like fishing. They are also more open to experiment with techniques and catch bigger fishes. Since this fishing rod has a smooth, strong drag that is capable of producing 13 pounds of maximum tension, it’s well-equipped to handle resistance from larger species.
It has a 6.2:1 gear ratio and a big spool that provides a lightning-fast retrieval rate of nearly 32 inches per crank! The 6.6-feet length with lightweight graphite construction allows teenagers to catch smallmouth and trout in quick currents or perform drop shot rigs for bass.
- Carbon composite frame and side plates
- Ergonomic EVA handle knob
- 7 ball bearings with 1 instant anti-reverse bearing
- Machined aluminum spool
- Length: 6.6ft
- Recommended ages: 13+
- Items included: Fishing rod and spinning reel
A Guide to Buying the Best Kids Fishing Pole
Is There a Right Age to Take Your Child Fishing?
Fishing is a versatile sport that is enjoyed by everyone, irrespective of their age and gender. Kids at age 3 like to copy what adults do, so if you love fishing and bring them along, they’ll surely want to mimic you. Plus, they’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on around them too, helping them appreciate the activity further.
What’s the Difference Between a Fishing Rod and a Fishing Pole?
Although used interchangeably, there is plenty of difference between fishing poles and fishing rods.
A fishing rod is actually a configuration that needs a reel, line guards, and a handle with a reel seat. This, in turn, makes it compatible with spinning, baitcasting, and push-button styles of fishing.
On the other hand, a fishing pole is just a simple stick, having no reels or line guides, which is why it’s rarely used.
How Do You Choose the Best Kids Fishing Pole?
Let’s take a look at some of the most crucial features that you should consider when buying the best kids fishing pole:
Ease of Use
The entire mechanism of a rod and reel combo can be complicated, which is why getting simple fishing poles is the best choice.
Look for models that only feature the necessary parts required for basic-level functioning. After all, children don’t really care about how sophisticated the fishing rod or the reel is.
In this case, you need to consider three questions:
- How old is your child?
- Is this your child’s first time, or do they have some experience?
- Is your child able to lift heavier weights?
Certain age groups can lift more weight while having experience gives them a better idea about the fishing rod in general. Remember, kids have better control over the pole’s movement when they have a comfortable hold on it.
Also, avoid purchasing a very heavy fishing pole, especially if it’s out of your child’s capacity. It can be very dangerous.
Choosing a fishing rod that’s too long will make it difficult to hold while going too short might sacrifice casting capabilities.
Typically, kids fishing rods are between 3 to 4 feet in length to strike the perfect balance between comfort and performance. But as your child gains more experience, you can always opt for longer rods that are 5-feet long or above.
Make sure your child is comfortable with the length of the rod to prevent any accidents.
Kids fishing poles should be designed for smaller hands to allow children to use it for extended periods. Otherwise, their hands might start to hurt.
We would recommend models that feature EVA foam handles that are not only soft to touch, but also very durable. Rubber handles are a good alternative as well.
This factor, of course, is for your benefit. Children can be very heavy-handed when fishing, making rods and poles more prone to breakage.
Keeping this in mind, we would advise you to look for models made with materials like fiberglass, graphite, and carbon fiber due to their greater strength level and durability.
Buying a Rod and Reel Combo vs. Buying Each Separately: What’s the Difference?
You might have come across rod and reel combos, along with products that are either rods or reels.
While both are viable options, when you put children into the mix, especially beginners, it’s better to purchase rod and reel combos. This not only eliminates any guesswork on the child’s part, it also makes it easier to use. Most of the rod and reel combinations are designed by manufacturers to be more functional and with more style options.
Purchasing rods and reels separately may require more research on your part. You have to understand the difference between spinning and casting gear, gear ratios, and matching your bait weight and line weight.
This kind of information requires advanced knowledge and experience. Hence, we would recommend sticking with combos.
What Fishing Gear do Kids Need?
Kids don’t need expensive fishing gear to start — just a simple set-up that can help them get started is more than enough. Here’s what we would recommend:
- Lightweight fishing pole
- Line bobber
- Light line
- Small and big hooks
Fishing with kids doesn’t have to be hard — and neither does choosing a new fishing pole for them. The only thing that you need to figure out is what sort of angling will they be doing, along with ensuring their comfort.
Hopefully, our guide above will help you find the best kids fishing pole for your kid. Investing in a good quality fishing pole will help you make great memories as a family regardless of whether it’s by the stream or lake.